Westar, Great Plains already among top 10 wind utilities

Great Plains Energy (NYSE:GXP) and neighboring Westar Energy (NYSE:WR) are both already listed among the top 10 investor-owned utilities for wind power and would become an even larger wind producer if their consolidation is approved.

While the combined company would still rely heavily on coal for the near term, it would be an increasingly important player in wind energy.

Recent figures from the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), which were provided by a Great Plains spokesperson, indicate that the two companies together have more than 1,650 MW of wind energy under contract almost another 300 MW under contract.

Westar has 913 MW under contract with another 149 MW actually owned by the utility for a total of 1,062 MW. Westar is listed as the No. 7 wind utility in the nation.

Meanwhile, AWEA lists KCP&L at No. 9 overall with 740 MW under contract and another 149 owned by the utility for a total of 889 MW.

Great Plains, which is the corporate parent of Kansas City Power & Light (KCP&L) announced May 31 that it plans to acquire Westar in a combined cash and stock transaction with an enterprise value of approximately $12.2bn, including total equity value of approximately $8.6bn.

Terms of the agreement were unanimously approved by the boards of directors for both companies. Once all the necessary regulatory approvals are in place, the parties hope to close the transaction in the spring of 2017.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.